Sunday, June 20, 2010

Goin' Fishin'

Wonderful tribute to Bob Kessler this afternoon.  After a 41 year career as an Extension educator, all of which was served here in Franklin County, Bob will transition from tireless public servant to vital volunteer at the end of this month. 

Bob's leadership in establishing the Therapeutic Riding Center, his influence and mentoring of 4H youth, and, of course, the creation of our own organization, the Franklin County Master Gardeners, were celebrated with speakers from throughout his career in Extension.  Nancy Reddington represented MG's on the speaker roster, recalling that first class of 7 intrepid gardeners willing to be tested, trained, and trialed to provide workshops, hotline support, and garden projects to the citizens of Franklin County. 

An authentic and moving moment came when Bob admitted,  "I didn't think it was going to be this hard." It all gave way to a standing ovation and good cheer.

Beautiful flower arrangements, a lily-pad water centerpiece, and a fishing themed floral tableau provided by Denise and Nancy decorated the Ag Heritage Building.  Enjoy the pictures.


More pictures to come.  These provided by Anne F.

Update: Monday, June 21, 2010.  The Public Opinion covered the event with this article.  Here's an excerpt:
Associates called retiring extension agent Robert Kessler an inspiration to thousands of young people whose lives he touched during the 41 years he has worked with Penn State's Franklin County Extension Office.

He was honored Sunday at the Agricultural Heritage Center on Franklin Farm Lane.

"I don't remember a time when I did not know Bob," said former 4-Her Kerry Golden. "I don't know about 4-H extension agents in other counties, but Bob was hands on. He listened to us, he believed in us and he cared."

She said it was clear as she was growing up and involved in 4-H that Kessler loved his work, and loved the youngsters he worked with in 4-H. In return, she said, Kessler was loved by the thousands of 4-Hers who over four decades were mentored by him.

"Thank you for all you have done for the almost 30,000 4-Hers you have mentored," she said during the program honoring Kessler.  
She then added one last thought for the man she said treated all children like they were his own: "Happy Father's Day."

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